PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day at Rent With Ephraim Sykes

By Matthew Blank
November 2, 2011

Ever wonder about the routine of a professional actor on one of those grueling two-performance days? Ephraim Sykes, currently appearing as Benny in the new Off-Broadway revival of Rent, offers Playbill.com readers an exclusive look at a recent two-show day, from morning wakeup to final journey home.



Armed with a digital camera, he provides a close-up look at his daily routines and backstage antics with the cast.



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The opening number just hit us like a freight train!
Photo by Ephraim Sykes



Sykes graduated from the Ailey/Fordham University BFA program and danced with Ailey II. He made his Broadway debut with The Little Mermaid and later performed in The Wiz at Encores, Memphis on Broadway and Bring It On at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.

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Again helmed by its original Tony Award-nominated director, Michael Greif, who first directed the New York Theatre Workshop staging on East Fourth Street in the shaggy East Village, Rent is now approached with fresh eyes by a creative team that is not an exact match of that first staging that went on to Broadway (and international) exposure.

Lyricist-librettist-composer Jonathan Larson based his work on the Puccini opera La Boheme, about passion and loss among bohemians in 19th-century Paris. Larson set Rent in New York City's gritty, artist-infested East Village.

Greif's new cast includes Adam Chanler-Berat, late of Next to Normal and Peter and the Starcatcher, as documentary filmmaker Mark Cohen; Wicked alumna Annaleigh Ashford (Maureen Johnson); Margot Bingham (Alexi Darling, Roger's Mom, and others); Nicholas Christopher (Tom Collins); Arianda Fernandez (Mimi Marquez); dance captain Marcus Paul James (Mr. Jefferson, Paul, and others); Tamika Sonja Lawrence (Mrs. Jefferson, woman with bags); Corbin Reid (Joanne Jefferson); Michael Rodriguez (Angel Schunard); Matt Shingledecker (Roger Davis); Ephraim Sykes (Benjamin Coffin III); Ben Thompson (Christmas caroler, Mr. Grey, The Man, and others); Michael Wartella (Steve, Gordon, Waiter, and others); and Morgan Weed (Mark's Mom and others). Also in the company are Sean Michael Murray, Xavier Cano and Genny Padilla.

Tickets ($69.50-$89.50) may be purchased by visiting siteforrent.com or telecharge.com; by phoning (212) 947-8844; or by going to the New World Stages box office.

For box office hours visit newworldstages.com/boxoffice.html. For more information about Rent, visit siteforrent.com.